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Brandon Phillips is a punk because he didn’t charge the mound to fight Jared Hughes? What?

Sep 14, 2012, 11:05 AM EDT

Brandon Phillips AP

The he-said, he-said of the Brandon Phillips-Jared Hughes thing died out a day after it all went down. Probably for the best, given that (a) neither Phillips nor Hughes was willing to say they were wrong; and (b) no one’s interests would be served by having it strung out any longer.

But in today’s Post-Gazette Ron Cook takes what I consider to be a totally demented angle on the matter. He called Brandon Phillips a “punk” because he didn’t start a brawl during the game:

Is Brandon Phillips a punk or what? … After the game, Phillips tweeted that he heard a racist remark. He didn’t mention names, but the implication was that it came from Hughes.

Right there, Phillips lost all respect. He never looked at Hughes even as Hughes was yelling at him. If Hughes slurred him — using the word “boy,” according to Phillips — shouldn’t Phillips have charged the mound and gone after Hughes? Some things are more important than the fear of injury or a suspension or even the impact either would have on your team in the playoffs and World Series. Defending your manhood is one. Phillips came up awfully small there.

Cook goes on to say that Phillips reaching out to Andrew McCutchen in an effort to have a go at fence-mending with Hughes was “impossible to explain.”

This is bizzaro world territory. You’re not allowed to take umbrage at what you perceive to be a racist remark unless you’re willing to get violent about it?  Running at the guy and tackling him is preferable to trying to talk it out?  On what planet is Cook writing this from?  The one in which Jackie Robinson routinely beat the crap out of people in 1947 as he made his way into the majors? The one where Martin Luther King led violent mobs in the streets?

Look, you can take legitimate issue with Phillips over making the incident public. You can even reasonably believe that he was simply wrong about what Hughes said to him and handled it poorly in the aftermath. But to suggest that Phillips or anyone else loses all credibility on a racial matter if they don’t react violently is beyond ridiculous.

  1. bennyandthemets - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    The only thing violent about Brandon Phillips is his batting stance.

    • afirst916 - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      I chuckled

      • bennyandthemets - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        8 people have no sense of humor and are de facto haters

      • kevinbnyc - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

        Haters AND racists.

  2. alexb64 - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Somewhere someone has to read this & live with the fact that they pay this man to write for a living.

  3. joshfrancis50 - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Ron Cook jumped straight to Ludicrous Speed.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      He went full retard. You never go full retard.

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        So I’m led to believe that a white male is appropriate person to pass judgment on what is and is not an appropriate reaction to a racial slur?

        I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

        Between Ron Cook and Dejan Kovacevic, the only Pittsburgh reporter worth reading appears to be Ed Bouchette.

      • gostlcards5 - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        cotpo – That is freaking classic! :D

  4. cur68 - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Yeah well, I have to admit MY first instinct is to slug first, ask questions later. I don’t, however, pretend that’s the right way to handle things. Here’s the thing, though: usually you know when this sort of thing is about to happen. The conditions are usually something like: more of them than you, no witnesses that aren’t complicit, and the perp is on their turf. What’s extraordinary about Hughes is that he comes off with it just like John Rocker did: completely out of the blue, on TV, etc. If I’m Phillips I’m in a bit of shock there. Its likely that no one’s ever done that to him in an MLB game, live on TV before. Takes a minute to sink in. You got to decide “WTF do I do now? This isn’t how this usually happens”. Phillips probably stood there, in shock a bit, then slowly got mad. Makes sense to me at any rate. What do I know, any ways? Not like this shit hasn’t happened to me like 2 dozen times a week growing up, is it? Oh, wait….

    • stex52 - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      Oh wait!! What?? You’re black??? oh, Jeez!! :-)

      • cur68 - Sep 16, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        More the colour of a fine leather sofa, than your actual black Stex. In fact, I’m sitting on one right now in perfect camouflage. If I squint and leave off with the grinnin’ I am invisible. The Invisible Man, that’s me. I do however refer to myself as “black” all the time. My ex-brother in law, whom I’ve kept custody of, and who is whiter than the driven snow, likes to call me “Caucasian” when he wants to irritate me because one of my grandmothers was. He maintains that there’s some formula for determining how “black” a person is and I’m not “black” enough. I invite him to kiss my black ass on a regular basis.

    • indaburg - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM

      I think you’re right that Hughes was probably too stunned to react. Being fom NYC, where racism is very subtle, I never felt like a “minority.” Racism there isn’t in your face; it’s more the societal subtext etc. Here in the South, it’s not so subtle. The first time I was in a racist situation, I couldn’t believe my ears. I was at a lost for words–I never prepared for it. I was at grocery store, and the two people in line in front of me were white. The checkout girl greeted them politely. When it was my turn, the first question out of her mouth was, “Is this WIC?” with a very condescending tone. No good morning, no how are you as the previous customers heard. The only difference between me and the others was my skin color. I fit her stereotype for a welfare recipient. All I could hear in my head was Dave Chapelle’s voice saying, “That is some racist shit!”

      Does Canada have a big problem with racism? Our American stereotype of Canadians (and my experience from working with several) is one of politeness and a really good sense of humor, unless they’re playing hockey. Although I did work with one bitchy nurse from Vancouver.

      • cur68 - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        Sorry for the delay ‘burg: was away fixing my cabin roof: a tree had fallen on it. Anyhow, I’m back, I didn’t fall of the roof or injure myself in any way at all (for a change).

        That’s some story. Typical bullshit, eh? They see you and judge you without knowing anything about you. I bet they don’t even understand why they’re behaviour is racist, even. Too stupid, narrow minded, and xenophobic.

        Canada is not too bad, I guess. No history like the US has, for which I’m grateful. As for me, when my family moved to Alberta it was the whitest place I’ve ever seen and I’m not talking about the snow (of which there was a considerable amount). My family was like the 5 specs of pepper in the salt shaker and boy, didn’t we know it. It was just hell here in the 70’s, 80’s, and into the 90’s. But things improved due to a liberal immigration policy, decreasing tolerance for casual discrimination, and the prevalence of black athletes in pro-sports and the Olympics. These days I can pretty much do as I please and no one bothers me BUT this means when some of the crap from back in the day happens I am totally unprepared for it. I’m just stunned. At a loss for words. When I see Phillip’s reaction and the replay of Hughes calling him “boy”, I can totally understand why I am seeing it unfold as it did. Even the Pirates backing Hughes is about what I’d expect. In my experience that’s how it unfolds. I don’t misread Phillips letting it go: he’s doing his friend McCutchen a favour. One day Hughes is going to do this again: he’s too hot headed and the words come to easily for him not to do it again. I wonder if everyone will be so quick to defend him then?

      • indaburg - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:29 PM

        Don’t worry about the delay–I figured you had a life. :-) I’m glad you made it through your tree escape with all limbs intact. So jealous you own a cabin. Ah, someday. Pretty country, up there where you are. I’ve never been to Alberta, but I’ve seen pictures (when the Lightning played the Calgary Flames back in 2004, the news did some specials on the area.)

        Settling in tonight to watch what’s left of the Rays season. If this was NY or Boston, we would be at Defcon 5 with our September swoon, but since this is Tampa Bay, most just shrug and say, “Whatever, it’s football season.” So how did a boy from western Canada become such a huge baseball fan anyway?

        Thanks for the lesson on race relations in Canada. I always envisioned as Canadians as more enlightened than us. I still think you probably are, at least where it comes to healthcare, but I guess no place has a monopoly on xenophobia.

  5. thatyankeedude - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Why call for violence? If the jackass wants a fight i suggest he watch some type of mma or boxing. This is not a sport that calls for extreme violence.

  6. realgone2 - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    I guess Craig would have politely walked to the mound and asked Jared to please refrain from the name calling. You can always count on our resident “Holier than Thou” blogger to let you know how to act in a situation.

    • alang3131982 - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      last i checked, resorting to violence when you havent been physically attacked is wrong in every situation.

      It’s likely never ok to strike someone who simply says something to you. I’d say public shaming is probably the best reaction actually. It makes the person feel like a fool and takes him to task. Physically hurting him (or trying to) is disproportional and illegal…

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      So you agree that no claim of racism is valid unless the victim is willing to resort to violence? Because if you agree with Cook here, that’s what you’re advocating.

    • Gamera the Brave - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
      — Isaac Asimov

  7. randygnyc - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Murdering people over perceived slights is all the rage now. One need not look any further than the animal, savages in Libya. Subscribers to that reasoning must think it perfectly acceptable that Phillips would risk his career in a fight over an insult.

    • stex52 - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      That probably will turn out to be different; a professional hit by Al Qaeda.

      But I get your point.

  8. kkolchak - Sep 14, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Incredible that a moron like Ron Cook actually gets paid to write about baseball when he doesn’t even make as much sense as the average internet commenter. Another question: doesn’t this dope have an editor?

    • bsbiz - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Doesn’t the fact that he does make it that much more pathetic?

    • natstowngreg - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Well, “average internet commenter” is a very low standard. He could clear that bar by not using profanity.

      As for his editor, most likely, he/she let it go because it’s controversial, and would attract more attention. More attention than it deserves.

  9. cadub49er - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Brandon Phillips has too much class for you, Craig. Maybe he is also thinking of his team and not risking a suspension. I would have probably wanted to throw down but Brandon is a better man than me.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      There are only a couple of 2nd Baseman I would rather have playing for the Cardinals than B. Phillips.
      The dude brings it…day in and day out. But “class” isn’t a word I would use to describe him.
      You don’t run your trap about a team (completely disrespecting them) IN THE MEDIA then less than 12 hours later act like you are homeboys with the leader of the aforementioned team you just verbally punched in the mouth.
      Further, you don’t make slanderous tweets without any explanations backing up said tweet.
      Then…you don’t refuse to explain yourself when people naturally have question dude to the cryptic smoke and mirrors tweet you just posted.
      But yeah…he’s one helluva 2nd Baseman and he’s fun to watch play.

  10. cadub49er - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Apologies, meant to refer to Cook, not Craig.

  11. natstowngreg - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    *applauds in Craig’s general direction*

  12. mazblast - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Brandon Phillips isn’t a punk because he didn’t charge the mound. Brandon Phillips is a punk because he won’t say who it was or what was said. By not naming names, his wild claims can’t be verified or disproven.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Yep…which creates the smoke and mirrors I just referenced in my post.

    • Sullivan - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Name names? I thought the powwow between McCutcheon, Hughes and Phillips made it clear.

      http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120911/SPT04/309110022/Phillips-clears-air-Pirates-Hughes

      • Sullivan - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        Meant to post this link not the other. Sorry.

        http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120911&content_id=38246732

  13. gostlcards5 - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Brandon Phillips is a punk for a bunch of reasons, but this is one I would stand with him on, violence isn’t the answer.
    [Of course, I temper that by reminding everyone that this is the asshat that started the brawl that included Johnny Cueto (yes, another asshat) kicking a former Red in the head repeatedly, effectively ending what career he had left.]

    Clearly, this idiot Cook is a complete and utter douchenozzle (another word I’ve really grown to like :D). Stances like his are reasons to severely dislike someone (back to the core of the man…how does it always come to that? :D)

  14. cincycoltsfan - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    I have no issue w cards fans hating BP, but to say he started that brawl is wrong. He made some bold statements, but it was mr sacrifice bunt yadier who started that fight. And cook must be a real tough guy. He was advocating violence in his column after Chapman hit McCutcheon a few months back. I suggest he walk into the reds locker room and take care of it himself. Ain’t happening

  15. atworkident - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    So he is a thug if he fights and a punk if he decides to turn the other cheek. Where is the winning option?

  16. metalhead65 - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    just a typical pirate fan writing for the paper. they are choking again this season and can’t beat the reds so they resort to all they have left and that is cheap talk.

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